Primary Sources in the Classroom


Historian Paul Finkelman Provides New Context to U.S. Immigration Debate at Readex-Sponsored ALA Event [VIDEO]

We are a nation of immigrants, but sometimes it seems we forget that. Professor Paul Finkelman offered a stark reminder of this at the 2017 American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago, and attendees of his Readex-sponsored talk left with a fresh lens through which to view today’s immigration debate.

From Hollywood to Silicon Valley, from baseball stadiums to boardrooms, immigrants and their children enhance our daily lives and culture. Consider the contributions of Andrew Carnegie, Alexander Graham Bell and Albert Einstein. Immigrants, including Irving Berlin, Greta Garbo, Sophia Loren and Joe DiMaggio, have enriched our music, art, and entertainment. Think of the impact more recent innovations by immigrants—like the founding of Google and the creation of the Pentium Micro-Processor—have had on our world.

Ten percent of the first Congress was foreign-born, and immigrants continue to fill critical leadership roles in our government today.

“From the beginning to the present, immigrants and the children of immigrants have played a fairly significant role in American politics,” Finkelman said. “In the last half century we’ve had two Secretaries of State who were immigrants.”

Add to that a foreign-born Secretary of the Treasury and two ambassadors to the United Nations. As Dr. Finkelman noted, unless you are 100% Native American, you are of immigrants.

But how quickly, as a nation, we forget.

Since the late 19th century, the Statue of Liberty has symbolized freedom, standing as a welcoming beacon to millions of immigrants reaching America’s shore. The poem at the base of the statue, written by Emma Lazarus, declares: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddle masses yearning to breathe free.” 

Is the United States still a welcoming haven?

Historian Paul Finkelman Provides New Context to U.S. Immigration Debate at Readex-Sponsored ALA Event [VIDEO]

‘Primary Sources Now: A Conversation with Professor David Goldfield’ [VIDEO]

Readex recently sat down with David Goldfield, the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and author of America Aflame: How the Civil War Created a Nation. In our short discussion, Goldfield described how his extensive study of U.S. religious and Southern history—including newspaper editorials, church sermons and other primary source documents—enabled him to identify a critically important aspect of the American Civil War not often discussed by other historians.

Professor Goldfield also explained why he uses digitized primary sources in his teaching to excite and engage students. Watch the interview to learn how online resources like The American Civil War Collection help students gain a wider view of history based on a variety of perspectives.

Contact us for more information about The American Civil War Collection or other primary source collections for classroom use.

‘Primary Sources Now: A Conversation with Professor David Goldfield’ [VIDEO]

History Professor David Goldfield Offers New Perspective on Civil War at American Library Association Meeting [VIDEO]

"History is messy."

That’s the lesson David Goldfield, the Robert Lee Bailey Professor of History at University of North Carolina, Charlotte, taught at the Readex breakfast presentation at the 2017 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta. Prof. Goldfield supported this short declaration with several poignant examples.

While our minds tend to enjoy simple, clear-cut, good-versus-evil narratives, the reality is much more complex, Goldfield argued.  He used his research surrounding U.S. religious and Southern history to provide a new look at the causes and outcomes of the American Civil War, first explaining why he finds the often-told story of the war “woefully incomplete.” He asked his audience of academic librarians to entertain a very different perspective on the war.

Throughout his presentation, Goldfield challenged the usual chronicle surrounding the war—the familiar debate of states’ rights and slavery—and instead focused on the consequences of righteousness and the effects of removing the barrier between church and state. According to Goldfield, the Civil War represented the failure of our political system, caused by the injection of religion.

History Professor David Goldfield Offers New Perspective on Civil War at American Library Association Meeting [VIDEO]

Announcing “Suggested Searches”: A New Feature in Twentieth-Century Global Perspectives

Cold War for Suggested Searches.JPGEarlier this year Readex launched a new suite of online resources on the crucial issues that shaped the post-World War II world. The suite is titled Twentieth-Century Global Perspectives and includes collections covering apartheid, the Cold War, migrations and refugees, race relations in the United States, and more. The content—from the archives of the C.I.A. and available nowhere else in fully searchable form—includes translated radio broadcasts, foreign-government reports, journal articles, television transcripts, and news items of various kinds.

Each of these primary source collections provides students and scholars with perspectives from outside of the United States. Such views are crucial to the proper understanding of world issues and shed enormous light on how nations across the globe responded to emerging matters of geo-political importance.

Over the past six months Readex has received requests from users to provide “pathways” into the content that enable deep research on key themes and topics.

Announcing “Suggested Searches”: A New Feature in Twentieth-Century Global Perspectives

Historical Newspapers in the Classroom, a Controversial American Master, and a Founding Father’s Political Education: The Readex Report (Nov. 2016)

In this issue: using yesteryear’s advertisements to inspire contemporary classroom research; a compelling profile of a portrait-painting virtuoso; inferring the political intentions of a prominent Founding Father.


Early American Newspapers and the Adverts 250 Project: Integrating Primary Sources into the Undergraduate History Classroom

By Carl Robert Keyes, Associate Professor of History, Assumption College

Keyes.jpgIn January 2016 I launched the Adverts 250 Project, a daily blog that features an advertisement published 250 years ago along with analysis and historical context.  This project grew out of my current research, a book tentatively titled Advertising in Early America: Marketing Media and Messages in the Eighteenth Century. Publishing a blog as a supplement to the book offers several advantages, including the ability to share more of my work more frequently and to broader audiences. It also opened up new opportunities for integrating my research into the undergraduate classroom, enriching both my scholarship and my teaching. > Full Story

Historical Newspapers in the Classroom, a Controversial American Master, and a Founding Father’s Political Education: The Readex Report (Nov. 2016)

Students Becoming Scholars: Using Digital Archives to Create a Powerful Primary Source Assignment [Webinar on Demand]

In a recent webinar, Dr. Julie Voss, Associate Professor, Department of English, Lenoir-Rhyne University, shared her experience using a digital archive of 18th-century books, broadsides and pamphlets to fascinate and challenge an undergraduate class of English majors. Using the Readex Early American Imprints collection, she asked her students to select an out-of-print text and then create an original modern edition of the work. Throughout this process, they experienced the joys and frustrations of working with rare old books, expanded their repertoire of research skills, and, in the end, began to see themselves as legitimate scholars.

Attendees told us they were hoping to:

  • Gain new ideas for engaging students in research using primary sources
  • Learn practical ways for using this kind of assignment in the classroom
  • Hear about collaboration between faculty and librarians

According to our follow up survey, their expectations were met!

“I especially appreciated learning new ways of assessing students’ knowledge. I knew a standard English research paper was not appropriate, but didn't know how to design a project.”

“Prof. Voss's project has given me ideas for expanding current student projects.”

And attendees left with ideas for implementing primary source research at their institutions:

“We look forward to expanding this project to include not only items from digital archive databases, but documents and manuscripts from our physical archives.”

Students Becoming Scholars: Using Digital Archives to Create a Powerful Primary Source Assignment [Webinar on Demand]

New Webinar! Students Becoming Scholars: Using Digital Archives to Create a Powerful Primary Source Assignment

Students Becoming Scholars: Using Digital Archives to Create a Powerful Primary Source Assignment

Presenter: Julie R. Voss, Associate Professor of English, Lenoir-Rhyne University

Voss webinar image.JPGA unique joy lies in the study of rare old books—the compelling promise of imaginative typefaces and yellowed pages, the intoxicating flow of the language, marginalia inscribed centuries before by an original reader, the thrill of making a fresh discovery. Most students aren’t aware of what can be found in their library’s rare book room; indeed, many never explore these revered repositories. But thanks to the magic of digitization, professors can easily share the delights of antiquarian works with their undergraduate students in powerful new ways. 

Register now Voss.JPG

New Webinar! Students Becoming Scholars: Using Digital Archives to Create a Powerful Primary Source Assignment

Using Primary Sources to Engage Students: An On-Demand Webinar

Presenter:

Debra Reddin Van Tuyll,

Professor, Department of Communications, Augusta University

 

Watch this new webinar to learn how primary sources introduce students to the experience of the past; create deeper engagement with research activities; and spark lively discussions that improve the teaching process.

 

 

Using Primary Sources to Engage Students: An On-Demand Webinar

“Destined for success”: 1960 Newspaper Reviews of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee (1926-2016)World-famous for her debut novel—and until last year her only novel—Harper Lee took America by storm in 1960 when To Kill a Mockingbird was published.

Unlike now classic works that were published to lackluster reviews, including F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, Lee’s enduring story of racial injustice in a small Southern town received immediate praise in newspapers across the United States.

The Boston Herald wrote:

This is a book which the reader will thoroughly enjoy, a book overflowing with life, and warm laughter; one that holds understanding in its heart and passes it on to the absorbed reader. 

From the Boston Herald (July 10, 1960)

 

The Dallas Morning News stated: 

“Destined for success”: 1960 Newspaper Reviews of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird

Just published—The Readex Report: February 2016

In this issue, Professor Joycelyn Moody challenges students in a Spring 2015 graduate seminar to collaboratively craft articles fueled by discoveries within Afro-Americana Imprints. Moody discusses the students’ work in the context of black/white relations post-Ferguson. The three student-written articles—also published here—focus on female interracial activism, the subtext of Christian abolitionist works, and the motives of 19th-century benefactors.


Unlearning from Uncle Tom's Cabin in Black Literary Studies After Ferguson: Perspectives from a Graduate Seminar Utilizing Afro-Americana Imprints, 1535-1922 

By Joycelyn Moody, Sue E. Denman Distinguished Chair in American Literature, University of Texas at San Antonio

Just published—The Readex Report: February 2016

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